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Vapourware [WiP]Zodiac Legion, a medieval fantasy take on X-COM

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by Galdred, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    Indeed, they are christmas tree sized, but we didn't want them to make the battlefield too confusing either.
    How high would you make them? Twice as high? That would make it impossible to play without transparency on (but as I pointed out, it would already be impossible given that walls already hide the tiles nearby).
     
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  2. Ninjerk Arcane

    Ninjerk
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    Contextual/Semi-transparent/Toggled foliage layer and "cut" the tree when it's disabled. More work for you, though, so it's understandable to just leave it as is.
     
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  3. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    I would have to apply the same transparency level to every tree, though, as they would mask the terrain itself, which is almost as important as the characters. But then, I already do that for walls (and have them all either transparent or cut), so it is already feasible.
    Concerning cutting trees, we use this for the cut trees :
    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]

    but it looks like they really got cut in game then, and it confusing in its own way (I thought about having a green hex with "tree" written on it, but got talked out of it).

    So basically, taller trees could work, but that would imply a lot of hexes would be behind transparent trees.
    If we go this route, how tall should they be relative to their current heightl?
     
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  4. Ninjerk Arcane

    Ninjerk
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    I mean you would "cut" them (in reality they are not cut, but we use a cross-section for abstraction) e.g. when the player hovers their mouse over tiles obscured by the graphic (depending on what implementation meets player expectations and/or your time spent implementing). Only a man-sized tree trunk would be drawn while hiding the graphic. I can make an ugly MSPaint mockup if that isn't clearer.
     
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  5. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    no, I get it :)
    But having to hover to see the terrain behind each tree would be quite bothersome (and it is one of the few things I don't like in Battle Brothers), but maybe with a key to cut them all, that could work.
     
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  6. Ninjerk Arcane

    Ninjerk
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    Yeah, you could implement it in all sorts of ways. Checkbox toggle in options, holding ALT or TAB or something (I think JA2 had something like this).
     
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  7. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    I can implement programming stuff, but I am more or less stuck with the graphical assets currently produced, as I dried up my art budget (I only have enough saved for a few static screens, UI, and some short music tracks + some reworks), so the trees will probably stay in their current version.
     
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  8. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    I have made a few more tests with trees :
    the problem if they are allowed to block moves would be that the max density would be like 2 trees for 8 hexes (ie, never more than 2 adjacent trees) in order to avoid the tree maze problem, but then, the forest seems a bit light.

    Moderately dense forest :
    [​IMG]
    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]

    On the spoiler, you can see that the trees block a lot of spaces, even though they don't seem that close to each other, so I think I will have to allow footmen to coexist with trees.
    I will have to place the trees either in the corners, or between 2 hexes.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
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  9. majestik12 Arcane

    majestik12
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    Done: http://picosong.com/jV69
     
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  10. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    Nice work :)
    It captures some of the atmosphere indeed, but it lacks the choir, and the instruments don't have the same timber (they sound "lighter" if that means anything).
    Anyway, I cannot pay for any more freelance job until the company is created, because any personal expense won't be taken into account in the game budget when applying for subvention (so I already lost at least 15 k in potential subventions).
     
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  11. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    Shadows are underway :
    [​IMG]
    I will use fixed shadows for characters and sprites (trees, furnitures...), and I will test dynamic shadows on walls.
    And the same in video :
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
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  12. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    Which highlight scheme would you recommend?

    [​IMG]
    or
    [​IMG]

    If neither is readable enough (or the first one is too ugly), I could increase opacity a little, but I fear the terrain under would become unreadable then.
     
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  13. Ninjerk Arcane

    Ninjerk
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    Looks like you need a color farther outside the palette. If the tile contents are important for whatever reason, perhaps holding Tab or Alt or something like that will hide the highlight?
     
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  14. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    Good point. Is this better?
    There is not much white in use, and we probably won't do snow.

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Ninjerk Arcane

    Ninjerk
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    By quite a bit, yes. I was thinking a highly saturated blue or green like the old Tactics Ogre-type games did, but that should work splendidly.
     
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  16. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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  17. Ninjerk Arcane

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    Better without blue borders, too
     
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  18. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    ok, thank you for your advice I think I will stick with the last version then :)
    It seems to be more color blind friendly too.
     
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  19. Cosmo Arcane

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    Same here...
     
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  20. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    Now, about the game system :

    Overview of the combat system

    During the tactical battles, each side will play all of its characters at once. Each character have 2 actions, like in Firaxis' XCOM (yes, I know...), or Descent: Journeys in the dark. Attacking ends the activation of the character (so only one attack per round).
    Combat takes place on a hexagonal map.
    Some abilities can allow a character to do a bit more (like moving 2 hex, and attack twice in melee at the cost of 2 actions for instance).

    Elevation gives an attack and defense bonus to the highest character.
    Facing does not matter in the game, but flanking does provide an advantage when attacking.

    Flanking

    [​IMG]
    The red character on the left is flanked because there is no way he could not have someone in the 3 rear hexagons, regardless of his facing.
    The other two red characters are not flanked because the middle one would have no one in the back if facing the hexagon between his two opponents, and the one in the middle is facing his 3 opponents, and have no one in the back.

    Ignoring opponents

    An important consideration is whether one character has been attacked during this turn. Characters who have not been attacked hampers adjacent opponents when they try to perform an attack. They also provide a higher flanking bonus to allies that manage to perform an attack on a target adjacent to them. They also have a stronger free attack against opponents that try to disengage than characters that have already been attacked this turn.
    This was done to de emphasize focus firing, and give a purpose to weaker opponents.

    Disengagement and Zones of Control
    A character already has some kind of zone of control through the threat of backstab, and defensive support. However, they also have other effects on adjacent hexagons :
    moving from a hexagon in the zone of control of an opponent costs a movement penalty, and may grant him a free attack.
    Someone trying to disengage will give a free attack to an adjacent character who has not used his attack, or who has already attacked him.
    [​IMG]
    In this exemple, Mr HammernChainmail can get a flanking position against the red knight of Libra : he can either make a detour, or pay 1 extra movement to get from one ZoC hexagon to the next. But if he does so, he will give a free attack to the libra knight, unless he already attacked someone else during his turn.

    Attack is an opposed roll (attack vs defense), and the margin of success of the attacker will impact the damage he will cause.
     
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  21. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    [​IMG]
    The wall tiles did not lend themselves well to a tile based LoS system, as it was obvious they did not take the whole space. It would make no sense at all for D2 to have cover against C.
    In order to make the system coherent with the graphical representation, we have settled for a finer LoS grid :

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    It throws away the hexagonal side of things, but these hexagons were easier to subdivise in squares than hexagons.
    So Los will use a finer grid, (subdivision in green), with 32 cells/heaxgon.
    This allows us to have an organic cover system :

    Someone has LoS to someone else if there is one of his cell can see one of the target cells (so the algorithm is reciprocal), but cover depends on the number of cells visible from the 2 best cells of the attacker (in other word, you total the number of cells seen by the attacker, and the lower the total, the harsher the cover bonus).
    So for instance, if A can see 27 and 16 cells of B from the two best of his cells, but B can only see 9 and 14 cells of A from his two best cells, A will have a large cover bonus (2 cells visible on average over the best 2 defender cells), while B will have a much lower one.
    This way, there is no need to have artifical cover rules, and we never un into the wonky case of A being able to see B without B being able to return fire at all.

    Here with a classic XCom exemple :
    C is flanking D : he has cover, while D does not.

    [​IMG]
    Note that making things completely organic would still pose a problem :
    [​IMG]
    C2 is better protected from D than C1, because the southern corner is closer to the hex behind than the northern one.
    The representation needs to support the gameplay : it would be very weird that hiding behind the south corner gives better protection than going hiding the north.
    The best solution would be to rework the walls so that the northern corners are closer from their nothern hex border, but that implies lot of artistic rework.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
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  22. cepheiden Novice

    cepheiden
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    I don't want to insult your work or anything, but are you really sure you want grid based combat?

    Sure it's fun and tactical, but only a few times.
    After a while it's just annoying having to fight all your battles in such a slow manner, always needing to move towards every enemy, waiting for all the turns, move again and so on. It's just so incredibly incovenient, especially for fights that you know you will win but still have to fight. That problem becomes even worse when you have to do a lot of fighting in the game. This is what always made me stop playing these games for longer than a few hours.
    Not to mention that it kind of breaks the games immersion if you suddenly have your screen filled with those giant tiles and are always forced to move exactly into one of those. Can't it be free form?
    Also it complicates things so much, to the point that you can't even place your trees where you want and surely a lot of other inconvenient stuff. Is that really necessary?

    All those things considered, what do you think is attractive about this style?
     
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  23. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    We plan to make fights tense to the end. They managed to do so in invisible inc, so it can be done.
    If you don't like fighting in these games, I don't see how free form solves any of the problems (unless you want to make it real time too).
    The problem with free form is that it makes combat even more tedious. Instead of selecting the best tile available nearby, you have to go pixel hunting instead. How does it solve the problems you mentioned earlier?
    I think the solution has nothing to do with grid, and more to do with pacing (by encouraging the player to take risks, and not advance too carefully). That is why we will make things harder the longer you wait (by adding reinforcements after some time, like in Invisible Inc, or Descent : JiTD).
    But if you don't like this kind of combat, that probably won't be enough to make you look forward to it.

    Edit : on top of that, a freeform movement system does not really make LoS any easier :
    You still have to compute how much of the target is seen from the attacker, which reference you use to determine LoS (one point of the attacker to one point of the target? Center to Center?).
    At least, with tiles, we can easily slap an overlay that would tell the coverage from a given target on each tile, and how much this target would be covered compared to us.
    It would be much harder to convery such informations on a freeform grid.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
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  24. cepheiden Novice

    cepheiden
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    Good answer. I see you have already thought about all this stuff. Hope you can pull it off.
    The free form part was just so you don't have to show a grid anymore. But I think you hit the nail on the spot with the pacing thing. The Grid style combat was great for strategy games like Age of Wonders, because you would a lot of other stuff inbetween fights.
     
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  25. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    [​IMG]
    I think it looks closer to a real forest this way (I scaled them 200%, as it is just a test), unfortunately, it completely messes up the informations conveyed to the player about the tactical situation. The trees are not centered, because I didn't modify the position to make up for their bigger size.
    So it would require cutting them like 100% of the time (except for screenshots) to see the terrain in the 2 or 3 tiles that are masked.
    I will try with 150% up, but I think it would still be too messy, even with transparency.
    But at least, now, it is obvious that they block the whole tile :)
    If it doesn't work, I will just put 2 trees per tile that has a neighbour, so that it is obvious there is no room to pass through.
    [​IMG]
    Now concerning the UI, do you prefer circles or squares for the HP?
     
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